Hindus received a lukewarm rating of 50 from Americans in general while atheists and Muslims are seen in a less favorable light, according to a recent survey.
Surprisingly, Americans may prefer a Hindu doctor, their kid's engineering professor may be Hindu. The owner of the hotel down the street may be Hindu. But still, not many people actually know a Hindu personally, the Pew Research Center said.
"And it's only when we really get to know members of a different religious, ethnic or racial group that we drop our preconceptions and stereotypes and let that nice warm feeling in," some Americans believe.
When asked to rate religious groups on a scale of 0 (described as coldest) to 100 (described as warmest), more than 40 per cent of Americans rated Jews, Catholics and Evanglicals in the highest third.
Buddhists, Hindus and Mormons (a religious and cultural group) were rated in the middle third by the majority of respondents.
Muslims were right on the line between the neutral third and the lowest third, and more people rated atheists in the lowest third.
It's no surprise that people who are identified with a religious group rate their own group higher than those who don't.
Also, those who know someone who identifies with a religious group rate that group higher than those who don't know someone of that religion.
Most Christians, including both Protestants and Catholics but not Mormons, rated atheists lower than Muslims; while Jews and atheists rated Evangelical Christians lower than Muslims.
The study didn't include how Muslims, Buddhists, Mormons or Hindus rated other religious groups.
When respondents are broken down by age, there's a larger gap in ratings for adults over 65 than people 18-29.
People over 65 rated Jews and Evangelical Christians highest, with 68 and 67 respectively, and Muslims and atheists lowest with 32 and 34 respectively; while people 18-29 rated Catholics and Jews highest at 60 and Mormons lowest at 46 (both numbers are in the middle, more neutral zone).